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Post-Campaign Founder Interview: Svilen Rangelov

DRONAMICS: Startup Success Story

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DRONAMICS is on a mission to democratize cargo aviation and enable same-day delivery for everyone, everywhere. In December 2021, they raised over €900,000 from 220 investors on SeedBlink, in an angel mega-round of EUR 15 million led by Eleven Ventures.

Svilen Rangelov, founder and CEO of Dronamics talks us through his experience on raising from the crowd with SeedBlink. Learn about Dronamics’s experience with SeedBlink, and the key to the success of its round.

What does "success" mean to you and Dronamics?

While it is common to link success to comfort, for me and Dronamics success means positive impact. The impact you can have and the kind of personal development you experience in an entrepreneurial adventure are very different from what you might experience in a more traditional organization, however open and flexible. In a startup, you are much better able to leverage your ability to learn new things, to create, and to think about the positive impact you can have - and many people see value in that.

Tell us about your capital raising journey before SeedBlink?

My brother, an aerospace engineer, and I founded Dronamics in 2014 with the mission to leverage advances in technology, materials and computing in order to democratize cargo aviation and to make it more affordable, accessible, and responsive to demand. Our first investment came from a local accelerator and venture fund, Eleven, later joined by Speedinvest, Founders Factory, and Boyko Iaramov, a co-founder of Telerik - Bulgaria’s largest exit. Working very closely with Boyko since 2016 helped us realize that angel investors can add tremendous value, and even when you look at our institutional investors - Eleven, Speedinvest, and Founders Factory - they happen to all be founded and led by ex-founders and operators. So by the time we decided to raise on SeedBlink, we already knew that our story, our business model, and our ambition resonate best with angel investors, and it was a very easy decision for us to include a SeedBlink campaign in our round.

When you came to SeedBlink, why did you decide it was the right time to raise a round?

We are a pioneer in developing cargo drones for the middle mile and are positioned to be the first drone manufacturer and operator to be certified for cross-border shipments this year. When we launched the SeedBlink campaign in December 2021, we were in the final days before the unveiling of our first full-size Black Swan and were only a few months away from flight authorization approvals and first commercial flights. We were about to close our round when we got introduced to the SeedBlink team, and we loved how they are bringing crowdfunding to Romania and Bulgaria, giving us a way to democratize access to investing in our company which resonated a lot with our mission to democratize access to fast and affordable shipping. And of course, investors had the opportunity to invest via SeedBlink just before the inflection point of the first flight and first commercial operations so we felt this was a great opportunity for all stakeholders while helping us fund the scaleup of our team and operations in multiple regions as we gear up for our Series A later in 2022.

At the time of your SeedBlink round, what other fundraising options did you consider, and why did you choose crowdinvesting?

We already had a significant amount of angel investment, so we set a goal to raise 750,000 euros on SeedBlink, but we blew past that goal and raised over 900,000 euros. Just a few days before we went live on SeedBlink, we IPO’d an SPV on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange using innovation in the EU Directives (you read that right!) and essentially listing a SAFE note on a junior market. Like SeedBlink’s campaign, it ended up being 4.5 times oversubscribed, with people literally lining up around the block waiting to register an account to participate in what became Bulgaria’s largest IPO of the year.

Both of these campaigns, as well as the other angel investments, provided us with sufficient capital to fund the first commercial flights and full-scale demonstration of the Black Swan in Malta and Italy in 2022, and position us well for a larger institutional round later this year. So on one hand we chose crowdfunding in order to give smaller investors sharing our vision the opportunity to support us, knowing that some of them could help us scale further and develop new business opportunities, but on the other - we know that as we grow the economics of future rounds become such that there won’t be room left in future financings for angels to join at a later stage, so really this was the last train.

Why did you choose SeedBlink? Why did you feel we were the right partner for your business?

We had heard about SeedBlink long before our campaign, as the company was building a strong presence in the region, and when we discussed how our angel round is snowballing, it was actually Eleven who suggested we get in touch with SeedBlink. We immediately clicked with the SeedBlink team as their crowdinvesting expertise was immediately obvious and their no-nonsense approach really appealed to us. After all, fundraising is only a means to an end, and we liked how the SeedBlink team was really focusing on supporting us and on getting things done. Of course, it helped that they already had built a large audience and had done the hard work of bringing to a platform people with an interest in investing in SEE tech startups, so all of these things set it up for success.

Talk us through what running the campaign was like?

The SeedBlink campaign was a fantastic experience! SeedBlink provided a clear roadmap on how to run an efficient and effective campaign, which was a huge help. In addition, the SeedBlink team was always available to answer questions and help us along the way - they provided us with three main points of contact for investment, marketing, and operational planning. It was quite effortless. They also organized a Pitch & Q&A webinar where we were able to speak live with their investor community and be transparent about all the business information and campaign details. We learned so much, met so many great people and when we went live, we also received excellent support and questions from the investors. The whole experience was very exciting - and hugely rewarding!

What advice would you give to a tech entrepreneur looking to scale using crowdinvesting?

My advice is just do it! If you are really building something that people want, this means you have more fans out there than you can count. So why wait to meet them?

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SeedBlink is a full-service investment platform that enables everyday and accredited investors to access curated European tech startups through equity crowdinvesting and angel syndicates. To learn more about startup investing and tech opportunities, sign up now. If you're a startup looking to raise soon, apply now.

By Bianca Iulia Simion

PublishedMarch 22, 2022


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